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Is NOS Energy Drink Gluten-Free? (Facts)

From what I’ve heard, going gluten-free can be a difficult experience. So many of the foods and drinks most people are used to eating every day have some form of gluten in it. No wonder companies are constantly releasing new products to meet the demand. 

But what about NOS? Do you need to wait for a new NOS flavor to have it in your diet? 

NOS cans

Nope, NOS is already gluten-free. 

It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll break it down the best I can. No need to worry if you don’t know what a gluten-free diet is either. I’ll be explaining that one, too. 

What is a Gluten-Free Diet?

“Gluten-free” means avoiding any food or drink that contains traces of wheat, rye, and other kinds of grains. This is done for health reasons but there are also people who cut gluten out of their diets to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. 

To clarify, gluten is a protein found in wheat and other similar products. Most people believe that it’s safe for everyone say for those with celiac-related diseases, while some believe that it’s bad for everybody else. 

Although the description makes following a gluten-free diet seem simple, wheat and gluten are far more common ingredients than most people think. 

An example of this is the fact that besides the usual cakes and cereal we think of, wheat can be found in hotdogs and ice cream, too.

For reference, here’s the list of foods you need to avoid if you want have a gluten-free diet:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereals
  • Beer
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Pastries

As you can see, a lot of items on this list are common foods that a lot of people consume on a regular basis. 

There are also gluten-free grains that people can buy if they can’t eat gluten or want to cut down on it. 

These gluten-free grains are the following:

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Flax
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Buckwheat
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth

Now here are the foods that naturally don’t have any gluten. So unless you need to avoid them for some other reason, you should still be able to have them even if you go for a gluten-free diet. 

Examples of gluten-free foods are:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Tubers

Generally, choosing naturally gluten-free food will always be better than choosing processed but gluten-free products. It’ll be easier to avoid added sugar and refined grains that way. Processed gluten-free foods also tend to have fewer nutrients than naturally gluten-free food. 

Why Go Gluten-Free?

Wheat grains

As mentioned, most of the people who adopt a gluten-free diet do so for health reasons. These health reasons usually include one of these three: Celiac disease, Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy. 

People who have these conditions must observe a gluten-free diet in order to manage the symptoms and function normally. 

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a condition wherein the body’s immune system treats gluten like a foreign body. When that happens, the body starts attacking the small intestine and its lining to get rid of the gluten. Hence it’s considered an autoimmune disease. 

The result is a damaged small intestine that may cause digestive problems and other issues such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss

Celiac disease affects only 1% of the American population. That makes it both the least common and most severe manifestation of gluten sensitivity. Many people who have this condition experience digestive symptoms, but some don’t. This makes the Celiac disease difficult to diagnose and detect early. 

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is when the patient’s symptoms don’t qualify for Celiac disease, but are still negative reactions to gluten in the body. 

Researchers don’t know how exactly to define this or how many people have it, so there’s some debate as to whether or not this is a legitimate condition. 

Regardless, it’s a diagnosis that’s given to anyone whose body reacts negatively to gluten but doesn’t have Celiac disease. Both conditions share many symptoms, but the key difference is that non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t result in a damaged small intestine. 

The shared symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Rashes 
  • Headache

Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy is like any other food allergy, which is a result of the immune system mistaking gluten for a bacteria or virus and sending antibodies out to attack it. 

Wheat allergy is usually triggered by consuming wheat products and sometimes inhaling flour. But in some people, wheat allergy is only triggered if they exercise a few hours after consuming gluten. 

Whichever way the allergy triggers, it results in the body responding in ways that result in congestion and breathing problems among other things. 

The symptoms of wheat allergy are:

  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Hives
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Anaphylaxis 

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that is sometimes caused by wheat allergy. 

Besides the other wheat allergy symptoms, Anaphylaxis also causes:

  • Tightness in the throat
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Pale, blue skin color
  • Dizziness or fainting

It’s recommended to call 911 or any emergency numbers if ever you experience or see someone with symptoms of Anaphylaxis.

Moreover, wheat allergy is most commonly seen in infants and children because of their immature immune systems. However, adults can develop this as well as a result of cross-sensitivity to grass pollen. 

You could also develop wheat allergy if you have family members who also have it. 

Is a Gluten-Free Diet Good for You?

For people with Celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is non-negotiable. Their bodies can’t digest gluten safely and so have to adjust their diet to remain healthy. 

People with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity may need to go gluten-free for a while, but can stop if they retest their sensitivity and get negative results. There’s some research that indicates that their gluten sensitivity can go away after 1-2 years.

However, this isn’t true for everyone with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. If the tests never come back negative, then they’ll end up having to keep the diet forever just like those diagnosed with Celiac disease. 

Some also choose to adopt a gluten-free diet in order to lose weight and experience other health benefits. It’s also believed that a gluten-free diet can improve gastrointestinal health and athletic performance in people who don’t have any kind of gluten sensitivity. 

However, these claims are not backed by sufficient research as of the writing. 

Are There Risks in a Gluten-Free Diet?

Adopting a gluten-free diet can leave you deficient in some vitamins. A lot of the food you’ll need to cut out in order to follow the diet contains important nutrients, so it’s important to research good substitutes during the planning stage.

The nutrients you need to look for alternative sources for are:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)

Gluten-free products often have different nutrient levels from the products they’re replacing. For example, some gluten-free products also have higher sugar and fat content than what they’re substituting for. 

So it’ll be very important that you look very carefully at the food labels and nutrition facts before buying anything.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet For You?

Like many other things, that’s up to your circumstances and personal preference. If you don’t have a health condition that mandates that you incorporate it into your lifestyle, then you can choose any diet you want for your lifestyle.

But if there’s going to be another thing to consider when thinking over a gluten-free diet, it’s definitely the budget that comes with it. 

Gluten-free alternatives are often more expensive than common food and drinks. More so if you’re buying gluten-free versions of food that normally have gluten in their ingredients. This might make budgeting difficult depending on your financial situation. 

What would it really be like though?

If you’re curious as to what trying a gluten-free diet might be like, I’d recommend watching this video. Here, a Youtuber and her friends try going gluten-free for a whole month and record their progress and thoughts on the project. 

Their experiences vary from grocery shopping, rejecting foods they’d normally like, and some physical effects of following (and cheating) the diet. 

In summary, the first week was tough and frustrating but they powered through it. But by the final week, the effects of the diet began to show and two of the three decided to stay gluten-free even after the end of the challenge. 

Does Gluten-Free Mean Sugar-Free?

Watching your sugar intake is important in a gluten-free diet. Like I mentioned, gluten-free products are likely to have more sugar and fat content than their gluten counterparts. 

However, there’s not much to this outside of being extra careful of what’s on the nutrition label. As long as you don’t exceed the recommended daily sugar intake for adults you’ll be fine.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the ideal practice for adults is:

  • Men should limit themselves to 36g a day
  • Women should limit themselves to 25g a day

NOS has 54g of sugar per can. 

NOS Energy Drink Ingredients

NOS Ingredient list back of the can

Here’s a list of what you can find in a NOS can:

  • Carbonated Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Sodium Hexametaphosphate (Preservative)
  • Natural Flavors
  • Taurine
  • Caffeine
  • Gum Arabic
  • Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)
  • Ester Gum, Sucralose
  • Yellow 5
  • Inositol
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA (Preservative)
  • Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6)
  • Yellow 6
  • Guarana Extract
  • Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

None of these ingredients has gluten in them. NOS has also been confirmed to be gluten-free by many sources dedicated to the diet. No official statement from the manufacturers though. 

Rest assured, you can continue drinking NOS and even a bunch of other energy drinks even after going gluten-free. 

Is Malic Acid Gluten-Free?

Malic acid is in fact gluten-free. It’s a tart-tasting acid that enhances flavor profiles. Outside of 3D Energy, it can also be found in fruits and vegetables (usually in apples). It’s also produced by the body when converting carbohydrates to energy.

Is Inositol Gluten-Free?

Inositol can be found in wheat, barley, and rye as the glue that lets them keep their shape. Its manufactured version is made from corn starch and is gluten-free. As you might have guessed, this manufactured version is what 3D Energy uses in its formula.  

Is Gum Acacia Gluten-Free?

Some companies add Gum Acacia to white bread and gluten-free bread to increase softness and shelf life. If you’re not familiar, Gum Acacia is a natural gum made from the sap of two kinds of Acacia trees (Acacia Senegal and Vachellia Seyal).

Conclusion 

NOS hasn’t been officially confirmed to be gluten-free, but it doesn’t appear to have gluten sources in its ingredients. That means it’s possible to safely drink it even if you do have a gluten sensitivity.

However, NOS does have an excessive amount of sugar in it. Depending on what else is in your diet, that might make it difficult to keep yourself healthy. 

Otherwise, drinking NOS while on a gluten-free diet is fine as long as you do it in moderation. You might not be able to chug a whole can every day to make room for the other food and drinks you’ll be having, but it’s still an option. 

If you still have doubts as to whether or not NOS will trigger your allergy or illness, then don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor or dietician on the drink’s content.

You can also reach out to the manufacturers themselves and have them address your concerns about the ingredients or possible cross-contamination.

Is a gluten-free diet a good idea if you don’t need it? In my opinion, it’d be interesting to try but could be too costly to keep in the long run. But if you can plan it well and pull it off, why not? 

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About Adrian Carter

Adrian writes about energy drinks and their ingredients to shine a light on the facts behind the brand names.

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